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Series / Black Work UK Miniseries

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A 2015 ITV Police Drama starring Sheridan Smith. A Yorkshire police constable investigates the mysterious death of her husband, a detective who was working on an undercover operation.


This series provides examples of:
  • Blackmail: Sian, Michael Parrys girlfriend, did this to Ryan after she overheard him talking about his personal life on the phone whilst undercover. She said in exchange for helping her boyfriend, escape arrest, she wouldn't rat him out to the other gun runners.
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  • Break the Cutie: Jo Gillespie, a idealistic police constable and mother, is dragged into a conspiracy of infidelity, corruption and murder when her husband is killed.
  • British Brevity: The entire series is only three episodes long.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: DCS Hepburn, the superior who treats Jo the best after her husbands death, is later revealed to have murdered him.
  • The Cavalry: When pursuing Michael Parry, Jo radios in that he may be armed. Cue a team of heavily armed firearms officers later stopping and bursting onto the bus he escapes on.
  • Cop Killer: DCS Hepburn, Ryans murderer. By doing so he also becomes a Killer Cop.
  • Corrupt Cop: DCS Hepburn.
  • Cowboy Cop:
    • PC Jo Gillespie goes against various superiors orders in the pursuit of her husbands killer, resulting in her getting suspended.
    • DS Jack Clark also counts, carrying around a handgun (illegal in the UK, even for non specialised police officers) he acquired "from a guy" he knows. He later gives it to Jo for protection.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
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    • The cottage in the countryside. Turned out Ryan purchased it whilst undercover so his new family could live there.
    • The framed police academy photo of Ryan in the Gillespie home. It was where DCS Hepburn hid the bug so he could monitor Jo after Ryans death.
  • Da Chief: Chief Constable Carolyn Jarecki
  • Fictional Counterpart: The 'Greater Yorkshire Police' replaces the real life 'West Yorkshire Police', who would in reality have jurisdiction in Leeds and Bradford.
  • Friend in the Black Market: DS Jack Clark gives Jo a pistol to protect herself when she meets up with DI Piper, saying he got it "from a guy" he knows. This later comes back to bite him in the ass, when Jo accuses him of murdering Ryan, as he had the means to acquire a firearm.
  • He Knows Too Much: After Parry dies in prison, it is thought amongst the police that his gun-running mates did it so he couldn't testify against them in court. However it is later revealed he was killed by DCS Hepburn to keep him quiet and not jeopardise the cases integrity.
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  • I Did What I Had to Do: DCS Hepburn murdered Sian, Ryan and Parry in order to maintain the integrity of a three year undercover operation to put away seven gun smugglers.
  • Lower-Class Lout: Michael Parry, so much so that his killer, DCS Hepburn, shows no remorse over killing him. His life seems of little value to the police superiors too, as they charge Hepburn with the murder of Ryan and Sian, but not Michael.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: Michael Parry is accused of killing his girlfriend and Ryan, and was discovered with a pistol matching both murders when he was arrested. On top of that there is pressure from police superiors to charge him so the case can be closed. It is later revealed he was so low-level in the operation he had no access to weapons, and was deeply in love with his girlfriend. The gun was planted by DCS Hepburn, who killed both Ryan and Sian.
  • Oop North: The series takes place in Leeds, Bradford and the surrounding areas.
  • Police are Useless: How Jo views her colleagues when they go to the pub for a drink in her husbands honour instead of immediately investigating his death.
  • Rabid Cop: DS Lee Miekel becomes this as the series progresses. He first shouts at and assaults a suspect he is interviewing because he who he believes he killed Ryan, his best friend. He later begins squaring up to his colleague, DS Jack Clark and scuffles with him at a crime scene.
  • Sinister Surveillance: Jo discovers various recordings of conversations between her and Jack, revealing that her car had been bugged. She later discovers her house has been bugged too. It is later revealed to be the work of DCS Hepburn, who bugged the car when he discovered Ryan was going off the rails undercover, and the house when Jo refused to stop investigating his death.
  • Title Drop: When Jo is talking with DI Thomas Piper, her husbands former handler.
    DI Thomas Piper: When Ryan went undercover into that gang he had to disappear, it's the only way to survive. You have to be what they want you to be. Someone they can trust. It's black work, Jo. If you want a nice easy life you're better off pounding the pavements as a PC.
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • Michael Parry knocks Jo out with a punch to the temple when she finds him in a cottage connected to her husband.
    • DCS Hepburn is revealed to have shot seventeen year old Sian in cold blood, as he thought her staying alive would jeopardise the undercover operation.
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • Jo Gillespie is revealed to be cheating on her husband with a colleague in the first episode. She also got together with said husband when he was previously married.
    • Jo's husband, Ryan, is revealed to have been cheating on her for three years whilst working undercover. He even fathered a child with the woman, and purchased a house for the three of them to live in.
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